Many carers are struggling to access support and are worse off under the NDIS.  Carers Australia has told a Productivity Commission (PC) review, assistance for carers should be a central concern in addressing the sustainability of the $22 billion scheme as unpaid carers continued to provide the most care to NDIS participants and the formal disability workforce faced ongoing shortages. There should be greater recognition of the contribution of carers to the NDIS and the government should implement an integrated carer support services system, Carers Australia told the PC Study into the NDIS costs.

The Department of Social Services is currently developing a model for government consideration. If implemented, the services would target unpaid carers supporting people both over and under 65.

A recent survey of family and friend carers conducted by Carers ACT found 82% of carers reported the NDIS did not increase a carer’s time out from their caring role and inclusion of services to provide carers with a break was variable in NDIS plans.  Almost two-thirds of survey respondents also said the time spent managing the support needs of the person they cared for had increased.

Similarly, an independent evaluation of the NDIS conducted by Flinders University in South Australia found that many family members and carers of NDIS participants were unable to take adequate breaks from providing support and could not access carer support consistently.

Carers Australia said many carers and NDIS participants were struggling to navigate the disability services system and there was a need for more support coordination to help implement NDIS plans. The allocation of support coordination is consistently being denied to anyone who does not fit the National Disability Insurance Agency’s “limited definition” of complex, Carers Australia said.

The PC review is ongoing and is scheduled to release a final report in September.